This music festival has become one of the highlights of the year in the county. Under the artistic direction of co-founder and pianist Wu Qian, it attracts some of the finest classical musicians to Surrey. In the school’s fine hall, Julia Pearson, Chairman of the IIMF, introduced The Sitkovetsky Trio and Friends. The Trio (of which Wu Qian is the pianist) has recently won the BBC Music Magazine’s Chamber Award for their recording of Ravel and Saint-Saen’s Piano Trios.
The programme marked the 150th anniversary of composer and former Surrey resident Ralph Vaughan Williams, including a performance of his String Quartet in C Minor 1898 (together with violinist Natalie Klouda and violist Rosalind Ventris) alongside a Beethoven piano trio and two world premieres.
The first of these was Natalie Klouda’s Piano Trio No. 2 – specially commissioned by the festival as part of their RVW celebrations. Natalie says she grew up with his string orchestral music, drew on his inspirations and also delved into contemporary British literary sources relating to nature when composing this evocative new work.
The second was the result of the new biennial competition, The Surrey Hills Young Composer Competition. This was won by 15 year old Reigate GS pupil Matty Oxtoby. He composed “On Reigate Hill” when he went there as an escape from being at home all day because of the pandemic. Looking over the countryside but also being within earshot of the traffic on the M25 inspired his piece, which reflects a day on the hill from sunrise to sunset. Will this talented young man become as famous as Vaughan Williams, a native of the county and a Carthusian?